Schools stay on schedule as cold weather approaches

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt January 7, 2015
An icicle hanging from a tree at Decatur High School. File photo by Dan Whisenhunt

An icicle hanging from a tree at Decatur High School. File photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Local school systems are giving signals that it will be business as usual tomorrow and the start of school won’t be delayed due to cold weather.

Fulton County, DeKalb County and Atlanta Public Schools have all sent out messages stating that officials are monitoring weather conditions. The school systems will let parents and teachers know if they decide to delay the start of school. Oh, and dress warmly, they said.

City Schools of Decatur hasn’t posted any information on its website or Facebook page regarding cold weather.

And we do mean cold. The National Weather Service used an adjective in its weather bulletin for today, warning residents, “Arctic air bringing bitter cold to central and eastern U.S.”

“Arctic air is settling southward from Canada into the central and eastern U.S. this week,” the National Weather Service says. “Bitter cold will be felt by a large portion of the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains for the next few days. Wind Chill Advisories and Warnings are in effect for most the Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Widespread subzero overnight lows are forecast in a number of northern states.”

The temperature tonight will drop down to a bum-chilling 12 degrees and there’s a wind-chill advisory in effect through 10 am tomorrow, Jan. 8. The high tomorrow will be 31 degrees. By Saturday night, there will be a chance of “freezing drizzle.” Things won’t start to warm up a bit until Wednesday of next week.

Public safety officials have been blasting out tips on staying warm.

Decatur Police Sgt. Jennifer Ross said, “We all know it is cold outside. Many of us will buy bread and milk, even if we don’t normally buy those items. We will bring our plants and animals inside and bundle up and be ready for the cold.”

She recommends that you …

–          Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.

–          Remove clutter from around space heaters and fire places.

–          Stay hydrated.

“One of the most important things we can do is check on senior and vulnerable neighbors,” Ross said. “Make sure they are okay. Do they have heat? Are they drinking water? Can you help them by bringing in their mail or firewood? Sometimes simply being checked on is greatly appreciated. If you are concerned about a senior or vulnerable neighbor in the city of Decatur, please contact Sgt. Jennifer Ross at or 678/553-6613. If it is an emergency situation, call 911 or the Police/Fire non-emergency number (404/373-6551) immediately.”

The Atlanta Fire Rescue Department provided these safety tips:

– Make sure to keep all flammable materials, like bedding, rugs and curtains, at least three feet away from space heaters, fireplaces and stoves.

– Never leave space heaters, stoves or fireplaces unattended. Fires should be out and portable heaters turned off before you go to bed.

– Never use the oven to heat your home.

– Do not plug space heaters into extension cords.

– Don’t use heaters to dry wet clothing.

– Never use a fireplace without a screen.

– Don’t use your fireplace if you haven’t had it inspected within the last year.

– Make sure you have smoke alarms with working batteries on every floor.

– Make and practice a fire escape plan.

DeKalb County emergency officials offered these tips:

– Exercise safety and use proper ventilation when using alternative heat sources, such as fireplaces and electric heaters. Do not use an oven to heat your house. Do not bring grills, generators, kerosene heaters, and other outside heating devices inside to heat your home, as they emit poisonous carbon monoxide.

– If you have no heat, close off unneeded rooms, stuff towels in cracks under doors and cover windows at night.

– Keep pets inside and ensure their food and water is not frozen.

– Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses. Detaching the hose allows water to drain from the pipe. Otherwise, a hard freeze can burst either the faucet or the pipe.

– Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas. If you have pipelines in an unheated garage or cold crawl space under the house, wrap the water pipes before temperatures plummet. Find the house master water shutoff valve. It may be near the water heater or the washing machine. More likely, it’s where the water line comes into your house from the street. If a pipe bursts anywhere in the house, this valve turns it off.
Leave a pencil-lead-thin stream of water flowing from a bathroom faucet during the worst of a cold spell. Running water has a lesser chance of freezing.

-If a pipe freezes and you don’t want to call a plumber, do not try to thaw it using a torch with an open flame. This is a fire hazard, and it could also melt pipe solder or burst the pipe. The safest tool is a hair dryer with a low heat setting. Wave the warm air back and forth along the pipe, not on one spot.

In addition, DeKalb County will open up Fire Stations 6, 8, 21 and 25 as warming centers for those in need. The city of Atlanta has opened the Old Adamsville Recreation Center at 3404 Delmar Lane. Atlanta, GA 30331 as a warming center.

Stay warm.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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